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Vol 21 No 10 Oct/Nov 2016

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Village Justice

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Tommaso AstaritaAssociate Professor of History, Georgetown University, USA

ISBN13: 9780801861383
ISBN: 0801861381
Published: March 2000
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Format: Hardback
Price: Out of print



In Pentidattilo in the Kingdom of Naples in 1710, Domenica Orlando, a peasant woman, was brought to trail for the murder by poisoning of her husband. Wither her were tried Anna de Amico, a neighbour who provided the poison, and Pietro Crea, Domenica's alleged lover. During the trial, it was revealed that over the years, Anna had helped both Domenica and other village women obtain abortions. Domenica confessed and all three defendants were tortured. Domenica eventually escaped while awaiting sentencing, Anna received a 15-year prison term and Pietro was allowed to go free. In this analysis of the culture in which Domenica and her accomplices lived, the author uses the case to study rural society in Italy in the early modern period.;The author shows that the case demonstrates a legal justice system caught between the state and the church's efforts to regulate popular behaviour and local practices and ideas of morality. The case also offers an example of how justice operated at the local level and outlines the difficulty of bringing order and morality to rural communities.

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